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DWP Christmas bonus: An insult to pensioners


Pensioners have hit out at the amount they get via the annual Christmas Bonus, which has remained at £10 since it was introduced in the 1970s.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is paying the one-off tax-free Christmas Bonus to eligible people, including pensioners, this week, which could help towards the extra costs often faced this winter.

However, as the payment has not kept up with inflation since it was first announced decades ago, it will go a lot less far in 2023 than it previously did - it wouldn’t cover the cost of a Christmas turkey today.

According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, £10 In 1972, when the Christmas Bonus was first paid, would cost £113.18 nowadays. Another calculator says that the value of £10 in 1972 is worth £168.26 now.

One pensioner said: “The £10 bonus is an insult to pensioners. This would at least £160 in today’s market. £10 won’t even buy a turkey.”

Another said: “The Christmas Bonus is dated, pitiful and quite honestly an insult to all decent hard-working people, who have now fallen on hard times.

“What is this £10 bonus supposed to cover? A few household staples if that.

“It should be scrapped and all the £10 the government pays out of taxpayer’s money, should be diverted to a specific cause which would make a huge difference.”

A third person insisted: “Whilst the bonus used to be worth having now is not. It must cost a lot to distribute so should be either uprated or abolished and a Christmas Bonus included in the pension payment before Christmas to minimise distribution costs.”

A fourth went as far as to suggest the DWP should abandon the bonus altogether: “As a beneficiary of the Christmas bonus, I would say it is about time the payment was stopped. Nice as it is to receive a bit of extra cash, it doesn't go far enough to justify what must be a considerable outlay overall.

“I am a pensioner, and far from wealthy, but over recent years, the Government has been consistently giving away money, which although welcome, has really proved to be unnecessary. I know many people will say they need more, but surely the answer is to provide an adequate pension and do away with the administrative costs of continually making additional small payouts.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “We will be paying many people their benefits earlier over Christmas and continuing the £10 bonus at a time when budgets are often stretched.

“This follows an uprating of benefits in April that means families on Universal Credit are receiving an extra £600 on average this year.

“This is on top of the £94billion provided this year and last to help households with rising costs alongside the uprating of benefits by 6.7 per cent from April – above the OBR’s inflation forecast for next year.”

To get the Christmas Bonus, eligible people must be present or “ordinarily resident” in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar during the qualifying week – which is normally the first full week of December.

Additionally, a person must get at least one of the following benefits during the “qualifying week”:

- Adult Disability Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Carer Support Payment
- Child Disability Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase of the benefit is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
- Disability Living Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
- Industrial Death Benefit (for widows or widowers)
- Mobility Supplement
- Pension Credit - the guarantee element
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
- Severe Disablement Allowance (transitionally protected)
- Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- War Disablement Pension at State Pension age
- War Widow’s Pension
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension

People who have deferred their state pension and are not entitled to one of the other qualifying benefits will not be paid the Christmas Bonus.